For a moment it seemed Jessica Pearse had done the impossible.
Ahead through the first three sectors, anticipation built through the crowd at the finish line for what would have been the first woman driver to win the Southern 80 superclass.
The competitors waited for an eternity before 99 Psycho Clowns received the news they hadn’t won the Southern 80, falling a mere three-tenths of a second short to reigning champion The Mistress.
Ultimately it didn’t matter, as Merc Force beat both teams by eight seconds.
‘‘I hoped deep down that it was us that got the win, but I did have a feeling we hadn’t done enough today,’’ Pearse said.
The Bendigo-based crew finished in 31:18, 13 seconds quicker than their 2016 performance.
But Pearse suggested there was even more to come from her team.
‘‘We sort of struggled a little bit with the wind, and Mick hasn’t really skied that fast for a while so we had to nurse him a little bit,’’ she said.
‘‘So we have to be happy with third.’’
Pearse said she felt for The Mistress after their close loss.
‘‘I feel really bad for The Mistress, that’s really a horrible thing to have happened, but you’ve got to wait to see all the teams come through,’’ she said.
The Echuca local said her dream of one day winning the Southern 80 would have to wait for another year.
‘‘You’ve got to be in it to win it, and we keep putting in as much time and as much preparation as we can,’’ she said.
‘‘But on the day it comes down to having all four crew members on their game and you need a lot of luck. We’ll get there.’’